Author Archives: Kayla Pins

Support Ukrainian makers with digital Etsy sales

Kayla and I were talking cross stitch and she asked if she could write a guest post here on the blog.  I said sure…

A guest post from Kayla…

I saw a great idea on TikTok… You can support the people of Ukraine by making digital purchases from their Etsy shops.

Once a shop owner uploads a file and makes a listing, the item can be sold and downloaded continually with no additional work from them. So even though their lives are in turmoil, their Etsy shop can keep working away for them.

Think of things you might already purchase digitally: Printable art, planner pages, etc, and filter results by location to Ukraine.

I did this with cross-stitch patterns and rounded up a few of my favorites to share.

XCrossStitchPatternX has a great variety of Scandi-inspired designs.

A trio of folk ornaments:

Scandinavian cross stitch pattern Advent calendar Nordic cross image 1

A cute folk rooster design

Folk ornament cross stitch pattern Scandinavian cross stitch image 1

And choosing a single pattern from her Norwegian-inspired category was far too difficult, so this set of five fits the bill.

SET OF 5 Scandinavian cross stitch pattern Nordic cross stitch image 1

It’s hard to choose favorites from StitchyPrincess. The shop has many whimsical seasonal samplers.

This bunny and carrot design would work up quickly for Easter.

Easter cross stitch pattern PDF bunny primitive sampler spring image 1

And it never occurred to me to need a cross stitch sampler for my bathroom, but this one made me consider it.

Cute Bathroom Cross Stitch Pattern PDF / funny tiny simple image 1

FireplaceHobby is a shop full of biscornu patterns. They come together in such interesting ways.

Like this reindeer design with trees that meet in the middle

Rudolf Cross stitch pattern Christmas Biscornu PDF CHART image 1

Or this spider design for Halloween

Halloween Spider Biscornu PDF CHART Cross Stitch Pattern / image 3

Or a set of three Christmas designs if you can’t settle on one favorite.

CHRISTMAS set of 3 PDF CHARTS Cross Stitch Pattern / biscornu image 1

Consider making a purchase from these makers and comment below if you have found digital items that other readers might like. It’s such a small thing to do, but as an Etsy seller myself I know how much I appreciate every notification for every sale. Let’s light these folks’ phones up with sales and messages of support.

I’m also adding a link to The Quilted Twins’ website HERE.  In this post Becky, the missionary in Poland, tells about what she is doing with the money that has been donated so far to help the refugees coming to Poland from Ukraine.

Kayla’s Nativity Sets

Over the weekend wasn’t feeling well so Kayla has been so sweet and took the initiative to write a few blog posts for me.  I so appreciate it.  No worries…I am feeling better now.  The meds I told you about in yesterday’s post are really doing the trick.  Thanks for your thoughts and prayers and messages.  It’s so appreciated-as is Kayla!!  Now here’s Kayla…

At the beginning of Advent, I joked in an Instagram post that Jesus’ arrival would be a true miracle, as he was truly lost. Does anyone else hide Baby Jesus until Christmas morning?

Not to worry, I have several others. I thought I’d show them off, as we didn’t host any holiday guests this year.

First is Jasper’s Star from Afar set. It comes with a simple book explaining each item. It shares a game to play throughout Advent, but that could work with any set. Parents hide the star piece around the home. The children find it and bring their wise men to sit with the star. Eventually, the star shows the wise men to the rest of the nativity set.

Jasper also has a Little People set which is hard to find, but that he was gifted by a blog reader. (Thanks again!) I have looked for them in the past and think they come in different versions: One is an Advent calendar and one has just the “main characters.” He loves this set and it goes nicely with his favorite movie, The Star, which is told from the perspective of animals.

This sweet little set still had the $.25 sticker on the bottom. It was such a find! Christmas for me is so much about family traditions, which for me means Scandinavian influences. This set looks right at home among Dala horses. It’s tiny and fits in the kitchen windowsill of my small home.

My treasure is my Jim Shore set. Spencer gave it to me for our first dating anniversary, 14 years ago now. 

There is some artistic license taken, definitely, as Baby Jesus is wrapped in a beautiful quilt, and check out that rose applique on Mary’s sleeves! But again, for me, Christmas is about family, and family to me means cozy quilts. 

I imagine I will live in a bigger house one day and it will be very hard to not have a set on every flat surface. I’ll be back again to share my Christmas ornaments when I take them down for Epiphany. Many of them are mini-nativities.

Jasper’s Christmas

A guest post from Kayla…

I recently shared about Jasper’s first memorable Advent and I’m back to share how Christmas went.

[My husband] Spencer’s gifts to his parents was installing under-cabinet lighting in their kitchen, so he headed to the farm early on Christmas Eve to have a work day. Spencer’s mom worked an afternoon shift so I stayed home with Jasper. He helped me make Christmas gifts for his grandparents.

We made letters on the side of the stove to spell a message and then made a collage with the images to make a phone wallpaper and refrigerator magnet for each grandparent. He loved looking through pictures from the year and sat nicely on my lap while I made the collages. 

Here’s the phone wallpaper we made Mom:

And the refrigerator magnet.

As a joke (but I think they actually went over well?) I made magnets of Jasper’s funniest faces from the year for his uncle. I think everyone thought I was joking when I said Jasper helped with the gifts, but he loved it. 

I ordered The Star on Amazon Prime and was so impressed that Jasper watched it and seemed to understand it. I made the mistake of telling him it was about the baby, which, as we know, arrives very late in the Christmas story. Every (not exaggerating) minute, he would ask “Baby?” I told him the baby was in his mama’s belly and babies have to wait a long time to grow big enough to get out!

The Star is an animated movie of Christmas told from the perspective of the animals. It’s really wholesome but still funny so I enjoy watching it with him. 

We “normally” (what is normal these days?!) would have went to Christmas Eve service but are still avoiding sitting in crowds with Jasper. So we had a simple supper and headed to Spencer’s family right at bedtime.

I put the star (that I mentioned in the Advent post) in my pocket and brought his Little People nativity set. When I got there I passed the star off to Spencer to hide and Jasper was so amazed that his star magically appeared at the farm.

He set up his Little People set close to the tree. We told him that the baby was coming when he went to sleep and asked if he thought the star would help the wise men find the baby.

Jasper is the only grandchild on that side of the family and loved being the center of attention. We all got a kick out of him dancing to his favorite songs from Polar Express. He loved passing out his envelopes with the magnets in. It was nice to see him enjoying giving gifts too.

The next morning when we…
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Jasper’s Advent

A guest post from Kayla…

We video chatted with Grandma “Go” on Sunday and she said she wasn’t feeling great and was considering a nap. Readers for any length of time know that Mom doesn’t complain and she doesn’t nap, and I felt helpless to be of any use from two hours away. So I’m here with a few guest posts to give Mom some time to relax.

I thought I’d take you on a little tour of Jasper’s first memorable Christmas. He turns two in two weeks so he was a lot of fun and fed into the excitement of the season. He loves Christmas lights, the Polar Express (or anything to do with bells, trains, or dancing), and opening gifts.

Christmas has been tricky for me because I am not a fan of the Santa tradition but my husband’s family treasures it. Here’s what worked for us: We distinguish Advent and Christmas as two separate holidays. Advent is getting excited for a new baby to come. That’s my specialty. Then, on Christmas morning, we find out that the baby came overnight and Santa brought gifts for everyone to celebrate. Lots of people like to give gifts on Christmas to celebrate the special birthday.

Throughout Advent Jasper opened a few gifts. Honestly, we didn’t keep up with the countdown. I found some Christmas books at the thrift store and ordered a few more. On the first day he opened a bigger gift, a piggy bank.It is so cute. It is rubber so hard to break. At first Jasper wanted to carry it around like a pet but he quickly caught on that he could put coins in it. He loved it until he found out he couldn’t get the coins out. That made him mad for a little while, but helped us explain that money is for saving. My intention was to plan the Advent days with the books I found and fill in the extra days with a few coins, but, as I said, we didn’t stick to the countdown. 

I thought we would light an Advent candle and read a book each night, but he has recently been hit-or-miss for his ability to sit still. It became that I would have him open a book-shaped gift on nights that I thought he seemed like he would be willing to sit for it.

Besides the books I found at thrift stores, these ones were hits:

The Story of Christmas by Helen Dardik has adorable midcentury-style illustrations that I loved. A Very Merry Christmas Prayer is a nice book about different aspects of the season to be thankful for. I will get the Easter version too, as I foresee myself struggling with the Easter bunny.
I tried to stick to Christian books for Advent, but I love this one. It is the song Here Comes Santa Claus but I love the illustrations. The family has quilts and a Nativity set. Lines in the song say that “Santa knows we’re all God’s children” so it helps with my message that Santa is celebrating the baby.Jasper already loves these books, so we got Christmas versions of Little Blue Truck, Pout-Pout Fish, and Good Night, Good Night, Construction Site.

Last year I got myself and my siblings a Star from Afar nativity set. It comes with a book that very basically tells the Christmas story. Then, throughout Advent, you hide the star around the house. The child finds the star and brings the wise men to find it. Jasper loved this. We didn’t remember it every day but I think he honestly forgot. Whenever we did move the star and remind him about it, he got excited like it was the first time. 
I’ll be back soon to share how the Christmas holiday went.